BOSTON - Paul Pierce would consider a return to the Boston Celtics, both as a player and coach. Speaking to the media after the Brooklyn Nets' 91-84 loss to the Boston Celtics, Pierce revealed that a return in the future in some capacity could be in the cards.
"Yeah, why not?" Pierce said when asked if he would possibly play for the Celtics again. "Maybe as a player, maybe as a coach. Who knows what the future holds?"
The 36-year-old Pierce scored 10 points in 33 minutes in a game in which the Nets trailed by a large margin for most of the night. But with the possibility that an injured Kevin Garnett will retire, Pierce could see himself looking for a new home again when he becomes a free agent this summer.
While taking a mid-level or even veteran minimum deal to join Doc Rivers in his home of Los Angeles makes the most sense, Pierce could see more of a leadership role in Boston. It also would allow for Pierce to return to the place where he sees a long-term future after retirement.
"Who knows? I may be working for [Celtics owner] Wyc Grousbeck or Danny Ainge," he said in the summer. "A lot of players don't understand it. I've always understood it. And [other players] let their pride and ego get in the way. I've made a lot of money here, I've built relationships, won a championship here, I thank y'all for everything y'all gave me. How can I be mad for everything they've given me. I'm thankful."
But coming back to Boston is still a bit heart-wrenching for the former captain, who still felt the strings tugging Friday.
"It's always emotional when you step into a gym you spent your whole life playing in," he said. "The tribute last time made it so much more emotional; and the cheers. But every time I come into this gym, because I'm always seeing friends and people who've been around all these years, it's always going to be emotional. Because you miss them from knowing them so long. Not at the same level it was last time, but it's always going to be there."
Pierce's comments paint the portrait of someone who, at the very least, wants to get the most out of his limited time left in his career before becoming an entrenched leader in the city of Boston. While he would likely want to be involved in basketball operations or possibly even coaching, Pierce fits the mold well of a team ambassador in the vein of Jojo White and Satch Sanders.
Pierce's future in Boston is not just limited to basketball, as he is planning on planting his roots in the city.
"Ultimately, what I would like to do is have a business in Boston," he said. "Maybe like a sports bar. I would love to do something like that here. None of the former Celtic great players have come and done that. I thought about it, and why hasn't anyone come and opened up a nice restaurant? You see the Don Shula restaurant, the Michael Jordan restaurant, and Magic [Johnson] got the theaters in LA. Why nobody here? All this history, all these championships and love, why has nobody done that?
"I am going to still have relationships here. I'm always going to come to this city. Every year, when I'm done, I'm going to have a reason to come here."
He sits on the Board of Governors at Tufts Medical Center and established a Paul Pierce Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery there in 2007. His Truth on Health organization has been one of the most preeminent and active health community action groups in the Boston area for years.
Paul Pierce has been synonymous with the city of Boston for over a decade, and the opportunity will arise sooner or later for him to continue to cement his legacy. But will that opportunity arise while he is still in uniform?
"Who knows what the future holds?"
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